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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

Fuck UWM and all universities! UW-Milwaukee and their brethren are mediocre. Click banner ads on ClixSense instead; it's a better use of time than a college education in the UW System.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cover Letter for University of Louisville Web Developer

I found the position below on January 8, 2013. I’ve copied the vacancy description verbatim, and all errors therein are those of the organization posting the vacancy at URL:

Posted: 11/15/2012 Job ID: 28777
Title: Web Developer /Technology Specialist Intermediate

Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Visual Arts/New Media, IT/Graphics Design, Instructional/Educational Technology, or related field and two years professional experience, preferably in higher education, association or customer-focused environment. Must have demonstrable experience creating and maintaining multiple web pages and sites, combining a graphics perspective with navigation and programming skills.

Knowledge of web creation software, CSS, HTML, Java Script, PHP, MySQL, and supplemental multimedia software is required. Working knowledge of open source CMS software such as Plone as well as custom developed web applications is highly desirable. Must have working knowledge of online marketing tactics and applications including email engines, Google analytics, blogs and creating landing pages.

The University of Louisville's Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning seeks a visionary web developer who is energetic, team-oriented professional capable of handling multiple projects in a high energy department. The web developer position is responsible for the design, maintenance and continual improvement of the Delphi Center's website and its effectiveness in attracting and motivating internal and external visitors.

The position interfaces with all departments and aspects of the Delphi Center in maintaining the web presence of the unit. The web developer works within the Delphi Center's Marketing Department to ensure successful promotion of both internal education programs and external revenue generating programs through strategic use of the website.

The position also ensures compliance with accessibility, branding and copyright guidelines of the university. The position requires a self-starter who can work independently, establish the highest standards of performance, set and meet deadlines and collaborate with a diverse staff. Please attach cover letter, resume and at least 3 professional references with application. Salary is commensurate with experience.

I applied through the ATS provided in the link but found that poor man’s Kenexa does not permit the upload of cover letters or references -- quite problematic when the vacancy requires those! Therefore, I sent the following email to HR with my attachments and concerns:

Hello, UL!

Although I applied for the position Web Developer / Technology Specialist Intermediate (Job Id: 28777) via the Applicant Tracking System, the same would not permit upload of a cover letter or references.

Therefore, I have attached the aforementioned cover letter and references with my resume for the position. I hope to get the ball running on fixing the ATS so others won't distract you from what is assuredly a busy day.


Joseph Ohler, Jr.

Attachments: Joseph_Ohler_Jr_Web_Developer_Resume.doc, Joseph_Ohler_Jr_UL_Web_Developer_Cover_Letter.doc, Joseph_Ohler_Jr_Professional_References.doc

I will post an update when HR responds. Neither a person nor an ATS ever gave me notice of any decision beyond confirmation my application was received. So while they never said "yes," they also never said "no" -- much like United Council when I applied for Executive Director last summer, coming strongly off my independent budget review.

Although sending a direct email greatly increases the chances the cover letter will be read, most organizations do not consider out-of-state applicants for positions lower than executive or “C-level” management. I wrote the cover letter anyway to stretch my writing muscles as I am wont to do. Irrespective, I hereby present my cover letter to the world for personal gratification.

January 10, 2013

Dear University of Louisville:

I notice your Shelby Campus web developer position has been vacant for almost three months, or else the vacancy would have been “routinely removed from the jobs portal around 7:00 p.m. [any of the preceding] Monday[s].” By what fantastical hubris do I apply to the nigh-unfillable vacancy without coming across as an Icarus pining to pilot the Chariot of Phaethon?

Three of my five years of web development have been within the higher education sector. I imbue every project with a mythical mélange of accessibility-oriented design, technical coding acumen, methodical debugging techniques, and comprehensive gathering of client needs prior to commencement.

Although I hear you proclaim, "University bookstore experience is retail, not higher education," I assure you that ten score times as many HR screeners have exclaimed, "University bookstore experience is higher education, not retail!" Existentially, either statement is valid depending on your biases and on which statement serves your need of filtering particular candidates.

I take the dialectical approach in that materially, I have fulfilled the myriad duties of web developer in a higher education milieu by coding, while physically located on a university campus in a students-only role for the same, all manners of HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and SQL in conjunction with the use of a content management system widely used by universities (Missouri Book Systems’ Insite) -- for the express purpose of earning revenue to sustain university operations while directly serving faculty, staff, and students (teleologically speaking).

I developed Atlantean foundations in design and coding while managing the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Bookstore website, responsible for processing $2.4 million annual revenue. I have since mastered the Herculean feat of integrating CSS, HTML, JavaScript, SQL, PHP, and embedded multimedia to create multifarious websites for clients who became gladdened as by the Elysian Fields! I am proudest of the website because it is the most ambitious and unique project I’ve undertaken on the odyssey to excellence.

Tons of mortals have reached for your Golden Apple but failed to answer the Riddle of the Employability Sphinx -- of how s/he will obviate your needs. If your three-month-old web developer opportunity remains posted as a fiction, then may the Don Quixotes among job seekers gallop unfettered to your illusory vacancy and smash gratifyingly into the windmill of reality! As our meta dialogue confirms, I am privy to your prank. Read my reviews of your position and other officious opportunities at:

Schedule a time to chat, or do not -- your job vacancy has become a plaything for the gods!


Joseph Ohler, Jr.
Enclosures: Résumé, Professional References

Joseph Ohler's Affiliate Click-for-Cash Program


  1. Dear sir,
    Your coverletter that I have just read is why you haven't received employment. Keep it simple stupid. Talking about mythology is not the solution to your pursuit of employment. Clearly you are abusing the thesarus option on Microsoft word.
    Gainfully employed!

    1. Dear M.H.,
      You evince ignorance of the parodic nature of this blog.
      More Gainfully Employed